Roasted Parsnips with Macadamia Nut Gremolata

By Julia Johnson,
Professional Culinary Arts student

As Thanksgiving nears, I wanted to share this simple and delicious side dish for your holiday table. It is inspired by a recipe for glazed carrots with hazelnut gremolata from the Level 3 curriculum of the Professional Culinary Arts program.

When I first had the dish I was immediately hooked. The hazelnuts added such a nice crunchy texture to the otherwise traditional gremolata, which paired beautifully with the sweet, tender carrots.

At home, I decided to make my own spin on it – substituting earthy, roasted parsnips for the glazed carrots, and sweet macadamia nuts for the hazelnuts. I also chose to sauté my garlic and parsley quickly in a bit of olive oil to release their flavors, and played around a bit with the proportions of the gremolata. When finished, it turned out to be a dish that I would be proud to serve, and one that I am confident you would enjoy as well.

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, or traveling somewhere else, I hope you give this dish a try.

Roasted parsnips recipe

Yield: serves 6 as a side (with extra gremolata)

For the parsnips:

  • 2 pounds parsnips (about 6), peeled, ends trimmed, and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt

For the gremolata:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole, raw macadamia nuts (a little less than 1/2 a pound)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt (or to taste)
  • zest of 1 lemon

For garnish:

  • 7 ounces full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the quartered parsnips on a sheet pan in one layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven, tossing the parsnips occasionally, until tender, about 30 – 40 minutes.

While the parsnips are roasting, prepare the gremolata: arrange the macadamia nuts in one layer on a small sheet pan. Transfer to the oven with the parsnips and allow to toast, shaking the pan a few times, until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. (Be careful as they burn easily)! Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.

Thanksgiving side dish parsnips

Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley and sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to drain the excess oil and add the parsley and garlic to the bowl with the macadamia nuts. (The excess oil can be reserved for another use — it is delicious drizzled as a garnish on just about anything: pasta, crostini, hummus, mashed potatoes, you name it). Add the salt and lemon zest to the bowl and stir to combine well.

To plate: in a small bowl, mix the Greek yogurt with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Dollop onto a plate, and arrange the parsnips on top. Sprinkle the gremolata over the parsnips, and serve any extra on the side.

– Julia
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